Posted by: suzannern | December 22, 2009

Sugar And Acne… A Personal Quest for my Old Skin

This is a post that I originally put up on my sparkpeople page a few months ago.

It is a challenge that I am currently implementing (for the second time) and I’d like to hear your experience with the topic!

Acne and Stress:

So unlike many adolescents, I had beautiful skin throughout my teenage years. It wasn’t until I started college that my skin really started to breakout.

I attributed this to a few things, #1- I was away at school and the water was “hard” so it was drying my skin out, #2, I had just started birth control (BCP) that summer so I thought it could be from the change in hormones as well.

My theory started to change as time went on however. I started to realize that whenever I wasn’t as stressed ( I was on vacation or was getting more sleep), I would breakout less. So, I began to think it was most likely directly related to stress levels (which is actually still related to a hormonal imbalance, just not from the BCP).

After moving to the city in 2007, I finally decided to go see a dermatologist for the first time. She put me on two topical medications, retin A and finacea.

They worked pretty well but dry out my skin, especially in the winter. They are also pretty toxic medications that are teratogenic so using them during a pregnancy is a major no-no. I’d rather not have to rely on them for a clear complexion.

So…I am currently trying to minimize my use of these Rx medications and am on a quest to find other ways to deal with my acne situation. Lately, I have come to some additional beliefs that I think contribute to my “adult acne.”

First one is a bit gross so bear with me. I breakout the most on the right side of my chin. Now, I tend to drool when I sleep. I also sleep with my right ear to the pillow. So I’m thinking the sleeping and drooling on that particular side of my face leads to an increase in bacteria and therefore more breakouts.

Second, I still maintain the belief that my stress levels are directly related to my breakouts. The more stress I am under, the more I breakout. Stress increases certain hormonal levels. One such hormone, cortisol, can lead to elevated glucose levels. Keeping this in mind, I believe that having a diet that is high in sugar would only exacerbate any abnormally high blood sugar level I may already have. This would consequently increase my breakouts.

Following so far?

In short, since cortisol is directly related to glucose levels in the body, I think that my sugar intake only makes matters worse. Acne is basically bacteria. And what does bacteria thrive on??? SUGAR!!

Oh.. and when I am super stressed… guess what I eat? Carbs and sweets! HELLO!

So that’s my theory. And here is what I am going to do to test it out…

My life is stressful. I’m sleep deprived, work full-time nights, take evening classes and intern 20+ hours/weekdays. That isn’t going to change until I graduate in May so other than exercise, especially yoga and social support, there isn’t much else I can do about that.

I’m not quite sure how I can prevent myself from sleeping in a certain position…(suggestions welcome)…

So the plan for now is to decrease the sugar consumption/white carb consumption. An experiment that I am starting right this very second.

What do you think?
What are your skin stories?

Other than my knowledge from past nursing classes, here is a source to refer to…

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